Never been to the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits? You really don’t know what you’re missing. Besides the acres of guns and accessories, it is truly a gathering of a community of like-minded people. It’s a big family reunion, and if you weren’t there this year…we missed you.
So if the 2016 NRAAM is over, why am I writing this now? Well, there are some ins and outs of attending the NRA show which can make the experience even more enjoyable.
The first and most important tip I can offer is to make the decision to go, and book early. Getting a room close to the convention venue can be a nice thing, especially if you can get one within walking distance. That way you don’t have to mess with traffic and parking every day. Next year’s show will be April 28-30 in Atlanta, and there was a kiosk in the exhibition center this year where you could book a hotel. Word on the floor was that by Sunday morning, all the hotels within a mile of the convention center in Atlanta were already full. I can’t personally confirm that, but if you think you’d like to go to next year’s show, the time to start planning is now.
The second and final pro tip for this installment is this: Plan to bring the family. First of all, the NRA Annual Meeting is a family-friendly event. An annual favorite is the Pyramid Air Gun Range, where kids can test their marksmanship skills under the supervision of NRA certified Instructors and Range Safety Officers. Then there’s the opportunity to meet Eddie Eagle, and an entire day dedicated to youth activities. (It is also rumored that having a cute kid with you can drastically improve both the quantity and quality of the swag you’ll score from vendors.)
More importantly, the future of the 2nd Amendment depends on future generations, and I believe that the greatest threat to its survival is simply a lack of interest. The surest way to preserve the gun freedoms we enjoy now, and the only way to grow them, is to grow future generations which value them as much as we do.
So if you’ve never been to the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits before, it’s time to change that. Start making plans for Atlanta 2017 now. I’ll post some more tips and tricks between now and then to help you make the most of your trip, and I’ll see you in Atlanta!
— Dave Cole
UPDATE: According to the NRAAM website, the venue in Atlanta will be the Georgia World Congress Center downtown. It is serviced by MARTA rail, so if you can’t get a hotel close to the convention center, you might want to look for one close to a MARTA stop. That way you can take the train to and from the event, and avoid Atlanta traffic. There’s an extra “NRAAM pro-tip,” free of charge!
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